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Foods to avoid with shingles

Updated February 21, 2019

Shingles begins with burning pain along a nerve and progresses to painful, itchy red blisters in that area several days later. Caused by the chickenpox (herpes zoster) virus, shingles can develop in anyone who has ever had that disease. A therapeutic diet to counteract a shingles outbreak is worth a try.

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Amino Acids

Alternative medicine views shingles as particularly affected by two amino acids: arginine, which promotes the virus that causes shingles, and lysine, which inhibits it.

Arginine-Rich Foods

An individual should avoid foods high in arginine as soon as initial symptoms begin. Anyone vulnerable to shingles because of immune-system problems may also want to avoid these foods. Primary sources include nuts, seeds, grain products, spinach, seaweed, watercress, chocolate and gelatin.

Lysine-Rich Foods

Some foods high in arginine are acceptable because they have higher amounts of lysine. These include eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, shellfish and fish. Most meats and fish are generally high in lysine.


Anyone with shingles should avoid sugar as much as possible. All forms of herpes, including shingles, thrive on sugar in the diet, according to naturopathic medicine theory.

Immune System Boost

Additionally, reducing intake of food and beverages which can lower immunity is helpful. These include alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated beverages and all junk food and processed food.

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About the Author

Shelley Moore

Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.

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